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LaFollette surveys 11th Street damage

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By Dwane Wilder

LaFOLLETTE—Mayor Mike Stanfield, Public Works Director Jim Mullens and City Attorney Reid Troutman will meet with local trucking contractor J.B. Arnold to determine the financial responsibility for recent damage to several city streets.

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During last week’s city council workshop, Mullens reported that some streets appear to have been damaged by heavy dump trucks hauling fill dirt from a site at the end of N. 11th Street to the new Bojangles’ Restaurant on Jacksboro Pike. The trucks belong to Arnold, of LaFollette.

LaFollette Codes Enforcement Officer Stan Foust said there is a 10,000-pound weight limit on city streets for all vehicles, with exceptions for federal, state and city vehicles. Foust said independent contractors, such as Arnold, must appear before the city planning commission and notify the public works department before operating equipment on city streets.

City leaders believe Arnold’s trucks well exceeded the weight limit when fully loaded.

“The road was destroyed, and we have an ordinance to protect ourselves,” said councilman Bob Fannon.

Mullens said he is not sure how much damage is the result of Arnold’s dump trucks.

He pointed to Iron Street as being particularly hard hit, although there is considerable damage to N. 11th Street from the bridge across the railroad tracks to the base of the ridge.

“I did not inspect these streets from this perspective before this happened, so I can’t tell you exactly which streets were damaged and how much,” said Mullens.

Part of the property the dirt is being hauled from is owned by the state and is currently a wildlife management area operated by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The trucking company was told to stop hauling dirt from that particular location. Foust met with TWRA officials last week to discuss legal issues.

“I don’t have a problem that we can’t work it out, but I think council ought to approve what we work out,” said Mullens.

Foust doesn’t know when the Bojangles’ Restaurant will be completed.

He said the project was originally supposed to be finished in April, but bad weather has slowed the construction process.